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6/23/13

Snowden and Ecuador

With Edward Snowden now apparently en route to the sunny palm-shaded beaches of Guaya, some thoughts. Yes, we're about to get a ton of snark about press freedom in Ecuador. But more importantly...

1) We're about to find out just how sensitive the information Snowden is carrying might be. Because you can be darned sure that by now the U.S Government has a very good idea of exactly what Snowden knows, what he's downloaded etc and if it's really enough to bring down the whole edifice, he's not going to reach Ecuador. However, if the documents held by Edwards are less than State-threatening, he'll make it ok.

2) Therefore, if you happen to be reading this and have a plane ticket booked for the Moscow/Habana run in the next 24 hours, you may want to consider deferring that flight for a couple of days. Either that or checking that all your insurance papers are in good order. Don't forget to kiss the kids before you leave, either.

3) Assuming Wikileaks is behind the liaison, Assange isn't going to make it out of that Ecuador embassy, either. Whatever Snowden might say about non-dissemination of information to third parties (which may be true or may be false), be sure that the USA will assume that both Assange and the Rafael Correa government will be given copies of the contents of Snowden's hard drives.

4) Meanwhile, Rafael Correa has proven balls in the face of direct threats (recall the events of September 2011) so he's not going to be easily cowed. Again, the way in which the US engages with Ecuador once asylum is granted to Snowden (and it will be) will be a tell on the sensitivity of the documents, but in this case the more aggressive the US stance, the less they truly care about the docs that Snowden carries. Conversely,  the quiet diplo route will indicate real nerves.

5) Suggested viewing is The Mouse That Roared, an entertaining movie made in 1959 (adapted from a novel, which I haven't read) and starring Peter Sellers.